For anyone who went to school with me, this next addition to my favourite things won’t be a surprise. As I mentioned in my previous post, my father is a big science-fiction fan, and I think a big influence on him growing up was a television show which would become the longest running TV drama in history – Doctor Who.
Being a 90s kid is something of a badge of honour, but what it also unfortunately means is that I was one of a generation of kids born during the time that Doctor Who had been killed off. It wouldn’t be until I was 11 years old that Doctor Who would be reborn – or rather, regenerated – but I was a Whovian long before Christopher Eccleston blew up a department store in London and ran into Billie Piper.
Every family has their traditions, and for my family, one tradition was little me crawling into my parent’s bed at 9am on the weekend to watch the classic Doctor Who omnibus on UKTV GOLD. While my parents slumbered on or groggily attempted to get their brains functioning, my youthful imagination was being transported across time and space in a blue police box. Sure, the special effects are creaky in the old episodes, and the writers made a huge gaff with the Sixth Doctor’s characterisation – Colin Baker was essentially handed a poison chalice in my opinion – but I absolutely adored Doctor Who.
And when the series returned in 2005, my love for this jewel in British television’s crown only bloomed further. Sure, there were some hiccups along the way – I have never sighed such a deep sigh of relief as I did when Moffet stepped down as head writer – but Doctor Who has a bright future ahead of it. I am an unapologetic feminist, and I couldn’t be happier that the 13th (or 14th, if you want to be really picky) incarnation of the Doctor is being played by a woman, and Jodie Whittaker is a phenomenal talent, more than capable of taking over the reins from Peter Capaldi. I think many people forget that science-fiction is, and always has been, the haven for the ignored, the soapbox upon which the disenfranchised and voiceless can have their opinions and views heard. The backlash Whittaker received following her casting announcement made me, frankly, embarrassed to be in the same fandom as some of the trolls spewing misogynistic vitriol left, right and centre. So, to all you naysayers out there, let me direct you to ‘the library haunter’s’ (@SketchesbyBoze) perfectly phrased tweet:
And if you have no idea who the ’17-year-old girl’ is, go read Frankenstein immediately!
Doctor Who has a special place in my heart, and while I loved watching Jon Pertwee’s horrendous karate skills and Tom Baker’s whimsical love of jelly babies when I was growing up, I am excited that a generation of little girls are going to grow up watching a female Doctor. We all need heroes to look up to when we’re growing up, and it is so important for those heroes to be people we identify with, whether because of their gender, race, religion or class. So, all I can say is, go on Jodie, do us proud – I have faith that you will be a truly marvellous Doctor Who.